Garmula Virkan, District Gujranwala; February — March 2021: It was reported last month that one Sajjad Hussain had sent a letter to the Gujranwala Deputy Commissioner against the local Nasir Elementary School run by Ahmadis. On DC’s instructions, a security officer visited the school for inquiry and saw for himself that Hussain’s complaints were baseless and false.


            Thereafter the same activist distributed an 8-page anti-Ahmadiyya pamphlet. Fearing a sectarian hype, an Ahmadi delegation met Mr. Sarfraz Falki, the CPO and conveyed him their apprehensions over the hate material and the extremists’ drive against the Ahmadiyya tombstones. The CPO told them to put up their application; he would send the same to the Peace Committee, also he would send for both the parties, and then give his decision for implementation.

            On CPO’s instructions, Ahmadis met the SP concerning the hateful pamphlet and provided him a copy. He, in turn told the SHO Garmula Virkan to look into the matter and told the delegation to meet the SHO the next day. The same night the security incharge telephoned that Ahmadi delegation go and meet the CPO on March 2.

            Accordingly, a 6-member Ahmadi delegation went to the CPO’s office. There, the opponents, Tehsildar, Patwari, and another revenue official were present in addition to three members of the Peace Committee. The Peace Committee members comprise a Sunni, an Ahle Hadith and a Shia — no Ahmadi. Ahmadis suggested to the police officials to meet them separately, which they declined but assured that Ahmadis would be given ample opportunity to say their bit.

            The police first asked Sajjad Husain as to what was the problem. He said that the graveyard is of Muslims; Qadianis should have their own separate graveyard. Ahmadis stated that the village had three additional graveyards; in this graveyard Ahmadi dead were buried since long. Ahmadis also stated that the graveyard issue was being heard in a court on plea of Mr. Hussain.

            As for the school, Ahmadis stated that the school was constructed by their community, and its registration has been officially applied for. At this, opponents suggested that other children should be discharged immediately. Ahmadis replied that this would cause loss of one academic year of the children, also the parents of these students would hold this against Ahmadiyya management of the school; however if the students leave the school on their own, the management would not object. At this, the DSP remarked that the management should not have admitted the Muslim children in the first place. Amazing!

            Ahmadi delegation told the police officials that the CPO had told Ahmadis to attend the meeting with reference to the hateful pamphlet and not regarding the school and the graveyard. Mr. Hussain, by distributing the pamphlet had put Ahmadi lives at risk; he has thus violated the law as well. At this Sajjad was admonished over the distribution of the pamphlet.

            Near the end of the meeting, a member of the Peace Committee proposed that the school should be sealed and the Committee was prepared to say so in writing. Ahmadis replied that they were not willing to accept that. At this, the DSP got angry and said, “Who are you to not accept that. The school shall be sealed and if you do not co-operate, a parcha (criminal case) will be registered (against you).” Finally it was put down in writing that till Qadianis are allocated a separate graveyard they would continue their burials in this graveyard; also the Muslim children will continue with their classes till the end of the academic year.

            Thereafter, the same Sajjad Husain wrote to the DSP Noshehrah Virkan that Ahmadiyya worship place in Garmula Virkan has minarets and the Kalima is also written there. The DSP then sent for the two parties to come over on March 8. When the Ahmadi delegation arrived they found approximately 40 mullas assembled there.

            Concerning the graveyard, Ahmadi delegation conveyed that as the issue was sub-judice, one ought to wait for a court decision. As for the school, Ahmadis will not object to parents withdrawing their children on their own. As for the removal of the Kalima and the minarets, Ahmadis will not undertake that and shall not allow a private party do that. If the police do that in uniform, Ahmadis will not confront.

            The next day, on demand of the DSP, Ahmadis went there to deposit the documents concerning the graveyard, the school registration and a statement on oath. The DSP summed up the situation that the issue of the graveyard is active no more, the school registration is not there except the application and challan, (He was told that the official procedure takes time). As for the Kalima, the DSP insisted that Ahmadis remove it themselves. He was told that Ahmadis will not do that, but will not resist the police.

            At this the DSP directed the local police and Ahmadis to report to him on March 11.

            Then on March 17, in an operation the police destroyed the elegant minarets and undertook the enormity of effacing the Kalima on the mosque’s front. The SHO stated that this was undertaken on orders of RPO (Regional Police Officer) after his meeting with mullas. The sacrilege was undertaken by a team of seven policemen and two municipal workers under the supervision of the SHO. Then came an official of the anti-terrorism department and took photographs (of the terror inflicted on Ahmadis by the state).

This reminded one of the observation of the renowned judges who produced the widely acclaimed Report on Punjab Disturbances of 1953: The Ahrar (anti-Ahmadi agitators) were treated (by the authorities) as members of the family and the Ahmadis as strangers.